Tiramisu means “pick me up” or “carry me up” which probably refers to the espresso & alcohol laced lady finger (Italian cookies) layered up with mascarpone & cream topping. It is often called an “Italian Trifle.”
The Savoiardi cookies which form the base of this dessert are a speciality of Savoy (Italy). It is better to use the commercially made lady fingers because they are thicker, have a crisp texture, are very absorbent & above all they retain their shape even after being dipped in the coffee soaking syrup.
Marsala wine or rum is used in both the creamy mascarpone custard & in the coffee mixture used to soak the lady fingers. Marsala wine actually comes from the Italian City of Marsala (Sicily) & is a fortified wine (like sherry & port) with a rich, smoky flavor that can be sweet or dry.
Tiramisu calls for mascarpone cheese which is a soft unripened cheese. It is a thick, buttery-rich, sweet & velvety, ivory colored cheese, with a delicate & mild flavor, produced from cow’s milk that has the texture of clotted or sour cream. This cheese is available in speciality stores & in the deli section of many grocery stores.
Here is a super easy recipe for all lovers of Tiramisu & especially for those who would like to give it a try & discover the joy of making it yourself…Enjoy this popular Italian dessert!
- 250 gms. Italian Mascarpone Cheese
- 24 Lady Fingers (Italian Savoiardi Cookies)
- 3 Eggs (separate yolks from the whites)
- 100 gms. Sugar pwd.
- 400 gms. Whipped Cream
- 250 ml. Strong Espresso or 3 tsp. Instant Coffee
- 2 tbsps. Brandy or Rum
- 50 gms. Cocoa pwd.
- Grated Chocolate for garnishing (optional)
In a sufficiently large bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar & 1tbsp. brandy/ rum till thickened.
In another bowl whisk the egg whites until very stiff.
Combine mascarpone cheese by spoonfuls in the yolk mixture till well mixed & thickened.
Next, lightly fold in whipped cream, stiff egg whites & leave to rest in the fridge for about 15 mins.
Meanwhile, in a deep plate or a soup plate, mix espresso & remaining 1 tbsp. of brandy/rum. To prepare instant coffee solution, dissolve instant coffee in 250 ml. water. If using espresso, then prepare your strong espresso & then measure the coffee.
Now it is time to assemble the tiramisu…
Quickly dip each lady finger cookie in the espresso liquid (lightly dip each cookie do not soak completely), arrange & layer the bottom of the serving dish.
Top with mascarpone mixture & spread to level evenly.
Dust lightly with cocoa.
Alternate layers of biscuits, mascarpone mixture, cocoa & build up the tiramisu.
Lastly, sift cocoa evenly over the top layer of mascarpone mixture.
Leave to rest for at least 3 hrs. or preferably overnight for the flavors to meld.
Serve in portions garnished with grated chocolate if you so prefer.
Tips & Variations :
- You can even assemble the Tiramisu in individual glasses or bowls.
- If you do not like too much of cocoa then you may dust only the top of the Tiramisu.
- You may omit the alcohol if you do not like it.
- The amount of alcohol depends on individual preference.
- You can prepare the mascarpone mixture only with egg yolks. It is up to you.